Sparkbrook, Birmingham born inside left Fred Harris began his football career with Sparkbrook in 1930 and played for Birmingham City Transport in the Sparkbrook League in 1931 and for Osborne Athletic in The Suburban League in 1932, from where he was signed by First Division club Birmingham in April 1933, making his Football League debut in the derby match with Aston Villa in August 1934, scoring the first goal in a 2-1 victory.
Harris was an ever present in his second season at St Andrews, scoring an impressive 18 goals during the campaign, finishing second only to Wilson Jones in the club’s goalscoring list. He missed part of 1937 with a knee injury but, having recovered, scored a hat-trick for Birmingham as they lost 4-3 to Charlton Athletic in February 1939. Harris remained a regular for Birmingham through to the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, which severely disrupted his career.
During the War he converted to play as a right half and played out the rest of his career in that position. His strong tackling and constructive use of the ball impressed manager Harry Storer sufficiently to make him club captain once he had returned to St Andrews on the resumption of peacetime football in 1946. He is also credited with recommending Johnny Berry to Birmingham, having seen him play for an Army team while both were serving in India during the War.
He remained a regular in Birmingham’s first eleven until November 1949 and won representative honours when he played for The Football League against The Scottish League in 1948-49. Harris retired from football in 1950, aged nearly 38, having made 313 appearances in all competitions for Birmingham and having scored 69 goals.
His nephew Roy McDonough had a noteworthy League career with several clubs from the late 1970’s to the mid 1990’s.